The National Trust has warned people thinking of celebrating the summer solstice at Avebury stone circle that the weekend is expected to be very busy.
“Summer solstice is on a weekend this year with the main focus for celebrants on the sunrise on the morning of Sunday 21 June. It is always busier when it falls on a weekend,” said Hilary Makins, the Trust’s Wiltshire Countryside Manager.
“We are appealing to anybody who is intending to come along, to plan ahead, make sure they have accommodation arranged and to be prepared for it to be busy. If at all possible use public transport or car share.”
Although the majority of people who want to stay up to see the sunrise on summer solstice night head for Stonehenge, some prefer to head for the Avebury Stone Circle where the National Trust car park and facilities are usually quickly overwhelmed.
“We have a small space for just under 100 tents and last year it was full very quickly,” said Hilary. “The car park and campsite open at 9am and we are expecting them to fill quickly, especially if the weather is good – although there is nowhere for people to queue to wait for the campsite to open and we will not be opening them early.”
The National Trust has also reminded coach operators that there is no parking for coaches in Avebury. Coaches are very welcome to drop off visitors at the bus stops in the village, but will then have to leave the area to park before returning to collect their passengers at a pre-arranged time.
The Trust is also concerned about new types of litter appearing around Avebury henge – which is part of the World Heritage Site. In recent years increasing numbers of small Nitrous Oxide Canisters have been found, being used by people for so-called “legal highs”.
“After hearing of an injury at Glastonbury last year, we are concerned both from the safety point of view of these pressurised gas canisters being used and left around and for the damage this extra litter does to the henge and to livestock. It is a scheduled ancient monument and a place which is sacred and special to many people,” said Hilary.
“We’d like everybody to show their love for Avebury by treating the henge with care and respect, disposing of litter thoughtfully and leaving everything as it was before the solstice.”
Detailed information for solstice celebrants is available from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury